As in any other U.S. state, commercial truck drivers in Florida must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service regulation. This regulation applies to drivers of vehicles classified as commercial motor vehicles. Roughly speaking, this is a vehicle used for business purposes and also meets one of the three following criteria: It is at least 10,001 pounds, carries a certain number of passengers or is transporting hazardous materials.
The regulation is intended to prevent truck driver fatigue by imposing limits on how much they can work as well as how often they must take a break. In general, a property-carrying driver must limit driving to 11 hours per day and a passenger-carrying driver must limit driving to 10 hours per day. Both types of commercial drivers are limited to 70 hours of driving per week. The regulation additionally specifies that a driver must take at least one 30-minute break during the first eight hours of driving.
An accident due to truck driver fatigue can be considered negligence. A truck accident due to negligence can result in a court case. One means to prove negligence is to prove that the driver was not in compliance with the regulation.
Tiredness is not a reason for a truck driver to abdicate responsibility. A driver has a legal obligation to be fit for duty, including being adequately rested. Someone who has been injured because of driver fatigue may wish to consult a legal professional who could help a client pursue compensation.
Source: FMCSA, “Hours of Service“, October 29, 2014